Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure


Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure Last updated: 08/06/23


Greek Council for Refugees Visit Website

Since 2014 up until the first half of 2021, Syrians and stateless persons were eligible to a fast-track procedure examining their cases and often resulting in the granting of refugee status. This applied to those with a former residence in Syria who could provide original documents such as passports, or who had been identified as Syrians/persons with a former residence in Syria within the scope of the Reception and Identification Procedure; provided that the EU-Türkiye Statement and the Fast track border procedure did not apply to their cases. However, the Joint Ministerial Decision 42799/2021 issued in June 2021, pursuant to Article 86 of L. 4636/2019, already replaced by Article 92 of the Asylum Code established that Türkiye is to be considered safe for applicants from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia. As a result, applications lodged by nationals of the above-mentioned countries are now channelled into the admissibility procedure upon arrival, to assess whether Türkiye is a safe third country and whether their cases are admissible and should be examined on the merits.

Also, although the fast-track border procedure was initially introduced as an exceptional and temporary procedure, it has become the rule for the applicants residing in Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Leros, and Kos.

Legislation also provides for the application of the Safe Country of Origin concept to consider applications manifestly ill-founded unless specifically proven otherwise by the person of concern. Article 92 of the Asylum Code (replacing by codification article 87 of Law 4636/2019, according to Articles 36 – 37 of 2013/32/ΕΕ Directive) authorises for the relevant Joint Ministerial Decision that can provide for the countries that would be included in the national catalogue. Joint Ministerial Decision 78391 (ΦΕΚ Β΄’ -667/ 15.02.2022) [1] of Ministry of Migration and Asylum and external Affairs (replacing JMD 778/20.1.2021) designated as safe countries of origin, Egypt, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Georgia, Gambia, Ghana, India, Morocco, Bangladesh, Benin, Nepal, Ukraine, Pakistan, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia. The Decision was amended in November 2022 by JMD 708368 / 25.11.2022 in order to exclude Ukraine from the catalogue.

Differential treatment according to nationality was repeatedly reported during 2022 after the initiation of temporary protection of Ukrainian Nationals in April. The Greek Government seemed to openly discriminate in favour of asylum seekers of Ukrainian origin against all other nationalities. Human Rights Watch reported on Greece’s migration minister, addressing the parliament in March mentioning that Ukrainians are “real refugees,” while those arriving from Syria or Afghanistan are “irregular migrants,” even though many Syrians and Afghans have valid refugee claims.[2] The same attitude was noted and criticised by GCR, Oxfam and Save the Children in May 2022 describing in detail in how many ways Greece’s welcome of people fleeing Ukraine stands in stark contrast with others seeking safety.[3] Amnesty International also commented on the fact.[4] Ukrainian nationals were provided with a specific process for their nationality procedure contrary to all other asylum seekers including immediate access, 24-hour information through the Ministry’s hotline for Ukrainian nationals as well as special status – a temporal protection residence permit which was provided immediately after the application for the duration of one year (see Temporary protection annex).




[1]  Available only in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3MUZJgG.

[2]  HRW, ‘World Report 2023- Greece’, 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3IDr3gy.

[3] GCR Oxfam & Save the Children, Greece: A two-tier refugee system, available at: https://bit.ly/3q6DtHD.

[4]  Amnesty International, ‘ΠΡΟΣΒΑΣΗ ΣΤΟ ΑΣΥΛΟ (ΚΑΠΟΙΕΣ ΕΠΙΣΗΜΑΝΣΕΙΣ)’, 30 June 2022, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3WtfkXV.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation